Google aims to lure '90 per cent of Microsoft Office users'

By Sooraj Shah
02 Jan 2013 View Comments
Amit Singhal Google

Google is looking to lure 90 per cent of all Microsoft Office users to its Google Docs offering.

In an interview with AllThingsD, Google vice president and head of enterprise, Amit Singh (pictured), said that Google will step up its pursuit of business users.

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"Our goal is to get to the 90 per cent of users who don't need to have the most advanced features of Office," he said.

The remaining 10 per cent of "advanced" users will continue to use the desktop version, he suggested.

Singh went on to explain that although Google Docs already coexists with Microsoft Office, the company is working hard to improve integration.

"In Q3, if you import from Excel into Sheets, you won't be able to tell the difference in Sheets. We know the gaps between our features and [Microsoft's]. We're improving them week by week," he explained.

Singh claimed that Microsoft's approach to its cloud offering was to increase the cost to its customers. He also claimed that Microsoft's overall market share had declined.

"Enterprise is the place where they are holding on. People are showing up at the office and bringing their own devices and expecting their employers to support them. And with Windows RT, there is no backward compatibility with all the apps. That's the first time that has happened in Windows. The Windows 8 move, they have done what they need to do, but it's fairly disruptive. SkyDrive is coming. SharePoint needs to integrate with Yammer. So, change is coming whether you like it or not," he said.

Google's rivalry with Microsoft in this area ramped up in 2012, with both vying for enterprise customers with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings in Compute Engine and Azure. Google had introduced Drive to enable users to store documents in the cloud and in response, Microsoft launched a similar service dubbed SkyDrive.

In late September, Google said that it would stop allowing users to save and export Google Docs files created using older 1997 to 2003 Microsoft Office formats from October 2012.

But due to a backlash, it subsequently gave users until 31 January 2013 to make the transition.

Google then announced that Google Apps, which includes Docs, would no longer be offered free to enterprise users. This suggested that users would have to make a choice between paying for either Microsoft Office or Google Apps.

Most recently, Google revealed that it had no plans to develop dedicated apps for Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 for its business products such as Gmail or Drive – even though the firm remains committed to improving and updating its iOS products.

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